Painting in Northern New Mexico, Sally Delap-John, looks for scenes of history. The landscape is seemingly unchanged, but historic adobes along the High Road to Taos are undergoing changes, slight some places, dramatic in others.
Over the fifteen years since moving from California, Delap-John has seen the endurance of huge adobe churches, lovingly maintained by parishioners, while lesser structures have melted back to earth. Truchas and Las Trampas, two Spanish land grant villages built in the mid-1700s, are easily observable from her home and gallery in Truchas. The churches need annual repairs, in the case of Las Trampas, while Truchas, Rosario, had major restoration done a few years ago. Surrounding areas are dotted with smaller adobe dwellings, that often are crumbling.
Painting en plein air is still about 50% of her work. A desire to paint larger pieces has necessitated painting in the studio, though a recent 36 x 36-inch canvas was done outside. “I completed about 3/5ths of this painting of the Chamisa Arroyo, en plein air. The wind began to pick up. Not wanting to chase a flying canvas, work was halted outdoors, and the painting completed a couple of hours later in the studio”.
Sally Delap-John recently exhibited 85 paintings of Truchas in a solo show in the adobe chapel up the road from her gallery in Truchas. “I wanted to separate the pieces of Truchas and arranged them in the order one experiences moving through the village from the west to the east.” Concurrently she exhibited with a new group, the Milagro Painters, at the Abiquiu Inn. Sally continues to show at La Posada in Santa Fe.